At Fifty I Am Startled to Find I Am in My Splendor

At Fifty I Am Startled to Find I Am in My Splendor

By Sandra Cisneros


These days I admit

I am wide as a tule tree.

My underwear protests.

And yet,


I like myself best

without clothes when

I can admire myself

as God made me, still

divine as a maja.

Wide as a fertility goddess,

though infertile. I am,

as they say,

in decline. Teeth

worn down, eyes burning

yellow. Of belly

bountiful and flesh

beneficent I am. I am

silvering in crags

of crotch and brow.



I am a spectator at my own sport.

I am Venetian, decaying splendidly.

Am magnificent beyond measure.

Lady Pompadour roses exploding

before death. Not old.

Correction, aged.

Passé? I am but vintage.


I am a woman of a delightful season.

El Cantarito, little brown jug of la Lotería.

Solid, stout, bottom planted

firmly and without a doubt,

filled to the brim I am.

I said the brim.


About the Author:

(Excerpt is taken from;

Sandra Cisneros is a poet, a short story writer, a novelist, and an essayist who explores the lives of working-class people. Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, the PEN/Nabokov Award for International Literature, the National Medal of Arts, and 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Her novel The House on Mango Street (1984) has sold more than six million copies, has been translated into more than 25 languages, and is required reading in elementary schools, high schools, and universities across the nation. A new book, Martita, I Remember You/Martita, te recuerdo, a story told in English and in Spanish, was published in 2021. In the fall of 2022, a new collection of poetry, Woman Without Shame, Cisneros’s first collection in 28 years, was published by Knopf and by Vintage Español in a Spanish-language translation, Mujer sin vergüenza, by Liliana Valenzuela. Cisneros is a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico. As a single woman, she chose to have books instead of children. She earns her living by her pen.

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